Reading over my post regarding the Dana White – Tito Ortiz situation, I realized that I was coming off a little pro-Tito. While I’m definately not anti-Tito like some people seem to be, I would like to say that from many angles this whole debacle can be seen as Tito’s fault. He’s the one that asked for the match in the first place. He’s the one that just didn’t show up at the weigh-ins. He’s the one that made a statement basically saying “My girlfriend didn’t think it was a good idea to do it”. There were 1001 ways to handle this situation differently that probably would have resulted in no bad blood, a ‘Bad Blood’ with an actual match at the end, and all parties with more moneys in the bank.
Anyways, because Tito got an easy ride, I thought I’d put in my two cents on what Tito needs to do right now. I’m gonna try and keep it light and fluffy because God knows I hate it when Jake Rossen writes his shitty op-ed pieces telling fighters they’re all washed up.
1. Get a manager
It’s actually pretty surprising how many fighters don’t have a manager. The UFC has gotten to a point with many of it’s top guys that they are the closest thing they have to a manager. They set up the fights, the promotional appearances, the sponsorship deals, and the fighter just says yes or no and maybe runs a few things on the side or haggles a little over money. Tito has done a decent job considering everything, but considering the number of balls he’s juggling, it’s about time he gets a manager to deal directly with UFC brass. The root of the whole ‘Bad Blood’ cockup was a lack of communication, and there’s no way this would have happened if there was a manager in Tito’s corner concerned about getting his cut of the proceeds.
2. Jenna Jameson is your girlfriend, not your manager
An extension of point number 1. First off let me say this: Jenna Jameson is a smart chick, and she’s managed to build a very impressive porn empire. I’m not saying she should stop meddling in Tito’s affairs because she’s a girl, or because she’s a porn mogul. But the fact of the matter is that she’s got her own company to run and her own things to attend to. She also doesn’t have the experience or the connections in the fight industry in order to get the job done effectively. Last but not least, mixing business and pleasure is always dangerous … things go sour and it’s a huge mess that could very easily kill a relationship.
3. Train outside of Team Punishment
Team Punishment is a great team, and Tito Ortiz is a good coach. A lot of Ortiz’ fighters are doing very well in the UFC, but past his fights with Ken Shamrock, Ortiz hasn’t been looking very dominating in the ring. While his fight against Liddell wasn’t a bad performance, Liddell neutralized a lot of Ortiz’ abilities with ease. It’s time for this dog to learn some new tricks that will compliment his ground and pound style. Some judo or sambo to help him take opponents down would pay dividends against opponents who’s sprawl has neutralized the wrestling shoot. Honestly, if Tito doesn’t mix things up he’s in danger of suffering the same fate as his rival Ken Shamrock.
4. Make some friends
This goes hand and hand with point 3. Who are you going to train with if nobody likes you? Yeah, I know the badboy image is mostly for show but you’ll find that a lot of the big names in MMA don’t really like Tito Ortiz. That closes a lot of doors as far as who he can work and train with. At this point in his career Tito can’t afford to keep up his Huntington Beach Bad Boy persona. He’s already shed it for the most part during his stint on The Ultimate Fighter, so why not go the rest of the way. Watching the show you can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t like Tito Ortiz, but he’s the kind of guy who’s great if he’s in your corner but an insufferable bitch if he’s not. A personality change is in order.
5. Find your anger
Oh the contradictions. Let go of the asshole persona but find your anger? What the hell? Well, Tito Ortiz is a fighter that pulled himself up as much from spunk as skills. The guy was the original UFC hothead and he loved to cause trouble. But the root of this was an anger and a drive that pushed him to win. But now we have a Tito Ortiz who’s rich, successful, and happy. He’s got the girl of his dreams and all the attention he could ever want. Past holding the belt again, what more could he ask for?
And that’s a problem when it comes to fighting. I have no doubt that Tito pushes himself hard and is still motivated. But the anger, the need, the desire of his youth that created the star he is today has most likely faded. He either needs to find an emotional place where he can take himself back up to the level where he was at before, or start training smarter to compensate for the lack of killer instinct.
6. Play the field
Tito’s got two fights left … Rashad Evans and then who knows. I’m sure the final opponent will depend on if he resigns with the UFC. I’ve already mentioned in my other article that it’s foolish to assume Tito Ortiz will blindly re-sign with the UFC after this ‘Bad Blood’ debacle. While likely, I would definately field offers from the K1/ProElite alliance and even Bodog.
Taking offers doesn’t actually mean accepting them, and playing the UFC against it’s competitors is a good way to make more money regardless of where you end up going. It’s a dangerous game though … just look at what the UFC had planned on doing to Brandon Vera when their negotiations went sour. Still, right now Tito has to look at what the UFC plans on doing with him … are they going to groom him for repeat title runs or have they decided he’s on his decline and are now happy throwing him to the young wolves to see how he fares? It’d be a smarter move for him to be top dog in a growing K1 than get railroaded down the ladder in the UFC.